Slim Aarons, born George Allen Aarons (October 29, 1916, Manhattan – May 29, 2006, Montrose, New York), was an American photographer noted for photographing socialites, jet-setters and celebrities.
At 18 years old, Aarons enlisted in the U.S. Army, working as a photographer at West Point and later serving as a combat photographer in World War II and earning a Purple Heart. Aarons said that combat had taught him that the only beach worth landing on was “decorated with beautiful, seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun.”
After the war, Aarons moved to California and began photographing celebrities. In California, he shot his most praised photo, Kings of Hollywood, a 1957 New’s Year’s Eve photograph depicting Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart relaxing at a bar in full formal wear. Aaron’s work appeared in Life, Town & Country and Holiday magazines.
Aarons never used a stylist, or a makeup artist.
Aarons made his career out of what he called “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” “I knew everyone,” he said in an interview with The (London) Independent in 2002. “They would invite me to one of their parties because they knew I wouldn’t hurt them. I was one of them.” Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Rear Window, whose main character is a photographer played by Jimmy Stewart, is set in an apartment reputed to be based on Aarons’s apartment. He died in 2006, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.